Free and Open Source Software for Geomatics Conference FOSS4G 2010 Barcelona

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Raster services still are in their infancy compared to vector/feature and meta data services, even more so when it comes to general coverages (as defined by ISO 19123). While today's technology allows serving large datasets, flexible and fast service interfaces are lagging behind.

Recently, OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) 2.0 has been finished; it will be released as OGC standard this June. It offers major benefits over previous coverage models:
* support beyond rasters to include irregular grids, among others;
* harmonized with OGC OWS-Common, GML, SWE, WMS, WCPS, and WPS;
* crisp and modular, consisting of a small mandatory core and a structured universe of optional extensions;
* formally specified syntax (XML Schema) and semantics (Schematron);
* testable: for the first time, pixel contents is subject to conformance testing.

WCS 2.0 provides the unifying, interoperable n-D coverage model within OGC; orchestratable service functionality ranges from simple subsetting to advanced coverage query processing. In future, coverages can float freely between services -- an SOS may generate a coverage and feed it into a server through WCS-T where WCS, WCPS, and WPS allow such coverages to be navigated, extracted, aggregated, and analysed. First feedback from remote sensing and metocean communities has been very positive.

The OS community is encouraged to contribute implementations - in particular, a range of front-ends and application layers will be needed for the spectrum of domains, such as in-situ and remote sensing, climate/ocean research, geology, etc. The WCS 2.0 reference implementation, which also is aiding parallel test suite development, is crafted as an add-on to rasdaman, an OSGeo incubation project. Rasdaman has eased implementation considerably through its multi-dimensional raster query language. A first WCS 2.0 demonstration is available on

The presenter, WCS 2.0 editor and rasdaman architect, will detail WCS and its reference implementation.


Peter Baumann - Jacobs University


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